Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Religion of peace? (Show, don't tell.)

An Israeli filmmaker based in California who made a movie belittling Islam’s prophet Muhammad that has ignited Middle East riots and led to the death of the U.S. ambassador in Libya says he is in hiding. 
Sam Bacile, 56, who described himself as an “Israeli Jew” who develops real estate in California, told the Associated Press by phone that he went into hiding Tuesday after assaults by conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya. 
In the Tuesday night attack on a consulate in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed, along with three other Americans.
I don't know, or care about, Sam Bacile. I don't care how much his movie belittled Muhammad. I don't care that he's Jewish*, except to say I don't give a crap about and Jewish prophets either and have no problem with anyone belittling them if they so choose. Christian prophets? Sure, throw them in the mix. South Park them all.

Islam, no matter what it's most pacific, wise, and humble practitioners may claim, is not a religion of peace. Nor is the Jewish religion, nor is the Christian. Sure, they've all got some nice words about peace and love, but they all couch them in muddled, superstitious bullshit, and give their followers just as much incitement to violence and hatred as they do love and compassion. Even Buddhism  has it's warriors. With the possible exceptions of Jainism and the Society of Friends, I'm not sure any religion has a valid claim to being peaceful. All would be improved by a dose of secularism and an enhanced appreciation of logic, truth, and the scientific method.

As an atheist, I don't care what what you, or anyone believes when it comes to religion. As a secularist,  I implore you to keep your religion, whatever it is, to yourself. Stop expecting anyone to give you preferential treatment, or tiptoe around your brand of superstition. Being demonstrably wrong about the nature of reality doesn't make you special.

The instant your religious feelings tell you it's time to get violent and start killing some people, that should be the exact instant you realize your religious feelings are fucked up and you need help -- and this is crucial -- from outside your religion, to get over it. Can you imagine a world where nobody took up arms against their fellow man over imagined slights against fictional characters? As a wise man once said, "it's easy if you try."

My thoughts are with the friends and families of those killed by barbarians last night. Perhaps some day the words السلام عليكم will only ever uttered by peaceful people with genuine intent to honor their literal meaning.

* Update: we learned later that the original reporting was inaccurate; Bacile is a pseudonym for some lunatic evangelical, or Coptic, or something. Doesn't change anything though.

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